Coronavirus: Northern England restrictions eased and bank holiday traffic boost

We have another five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Friday evening. We’ll be back on Saturday morning with another update.

1. Restrictions to be eased in parts of northern England

Lockdown restrictions put in place in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire are to be lifted on 2 September thanks to what the government described as “positive progress”. Restrictions on two households mixing, which were introduced last month, will be eased in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, and Hyndburn as well as parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees. But Leicester’s restrictions will remain in place for now.

2. Cases continue to level off in England – ONS

Cases of coronavirus are still levelling off in England, according to data taken from swab tests of thousands of people. The Office for National Statistics estimates there are 2,200 new infections every day. It comes as 1,276 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the UK, down from 1,522 recorded on Thursday. A further nine people have died who had tested positive in the previous 28 days.

3. Staycations expected to boost bank holiday traffic

It’s the August Bank Holiday weekend – with a difference. There are none of the usual events held at the end of August, like the Notting Hill Carnival and the Reading and Leeds festivals. But despite this, the RAC says an estimated 18 million journeys will be made by car – 1.8 million more than in 2019. That’s partly due to the fact people are taking breaks in the UK this year, due to the pandemic, and many will be returning home if they’ve been away on holiday, or will be off on short trips to make the most of the long weekend.

4. Covid toll on jobs highest in poorest areas

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has surged across the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But often it’s the most deprived areas that have been hit the hardest, according to research the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shared with the BBC. One of those who has been seeking work is Julie from Trimdon in County Durham, who told the BBC about the sleepless nights she’s had due to being out of work. She had applied for more than 30 jobs since March.

5. Flights of fancy

Would-be travellers who’ve had their plans thwarted due to coronavirus are being offered ways to get their flying fix – without going abroad. Companies have devised a number of ways to give people the experience of plane travel – from Qantas selling pairs of its pyjamas (which promptly sold out), to the sale of airline meals (complete with tray, in some cases) and even flights that go nowhere – taking off from and landing at the same airport.

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